Richard Bradshaw (conductor)

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Richard Bradshaw
Richard Bradshaw (conductor).jpg
Background information
Born (1944-04-26)26 April 1944
Rugby, Warwickshire
Died 15 August 2007(2007-08-15) (aged 63)
Genres classical opera
Occupation(s) conductor
Associated acts Glyndebourne Festival Opera,
San Francisco Opera,
Canadian Opera Company

Richard James Bradshaw, O.Ont (26 April 1944 – 15 August 2007) was a British opera conductor and the General Director of the Canadian Opera Company (COC) in Toronto.


Born in Rugby, Warwickshire, England, Bradshaw received an honours Bachelor of Arts degree in English from University of London in 1965. From 1975 to 1977, he was the Chorus Director at the Glyndebourne Festival Opera. From 1977 to 1989, he was Chorus Director and Resident Conductor at San Francisco Opera.

In 1988, he was a guest conductor of the COC. In 1989, he was appointed Chief Conductor and Head of Music. In 1994, he was appointed Artistic Director and General Director in 1998. At the COC, he had conducted more than 60 operas.

In 2004, he was made a member of the Order of Ontario for having "brought the COC international acclaim, including a first-ever invitation to the Edinburgh Festival, garnering two prestigious awards".

In 2006, Bradshaw received the National Arts Centre Award, a companion award of the Governor General's Performing Arts Awards, Canada's highest honour in the performing arts.[1] It was also that year that saw the opening of the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, a 30-year dream that came to fruition for the Canadian Opera Company and for Bradshaw himself. In September of that year, Bradshaw and the COC opened the season with three complete performances of Wagner's Ring, thus becoming the first conductor since Wagner himself to inaugurate an opera house with a complete Ring.

On 15 August 2007, at age 63, Bradshaw died after collapsing from an apparent heart attack while at Toronto Pearson International Airport. He left a wife Diana, daughter Jenny, and son James. His sudden death was a shock to the opera community in Toronto and Canada.


  1. ^ "Richard Bradshaw biography". Governor General's Performing Arts Awards Foundation. Retrieved 10 February 2015. 


Cultural offices
Preceded by
Brian Dickie
General Director of the Canadian Opera Company
Succeeded by
Alexander Neef
(a/o 1 October 2008)